A suspect in the killings of four students in America has been arrested, a law enforcement official said.
Arrest paperwork filed in Monroe County Court, Pennsylvania, said Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was being held for extradition to Idaho where he faces a first degree murder charge. The killings initially mystified law enforcement, with investigators unable to name a suspect or locate a murder weapon for weeks.
The killings of the University of Idaho students has shocked the small town of Moscow, a farming community of about 25,000 people — including roughly 11,000 students — tucked in the rolling hills of the northern part of the state in the Palouse region. The case also enticed online sleuths who speculated about potential suspects and motives. In the early days of the investigation, police released relatively few details publicly.
Fears of a repeat attack prompted nearly half of the university’s students to switch to online classes for the remainder of the semester, abandoning dorms and apartments in the normally bucolic town for the perceived safety of their hometowns. Safety concerns also had the university hiring an additional security firm to escort students across campus and the Idaho State Police sending troopers to help patrol the city’s streets.
How many students were killed?
Four students were killed in the incident last month. Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin — were stabbed to death at a rental home near campus sometime in the early morning hours of 13 November.
Ms Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Ms Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Ms Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Mr Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, were members of the university’s Greek system and close friends.
Ms Mogen, Ms Goncalves and Ms Kernodle lived in the three-story rental home with two other roommates. Ms Kernodle and Mr Chapin were dating and he was visiting the house that night. Autopsies showed all four were likely asleep when they were attacked. Some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. There was no sign of sexual assault, police said.
Has an arrest been made?
The killings initially mystified law enforcement, with investigators unable to name a suspect or locate a murder weapon for weeks. But the case broke open after law enforcement asked the public for help finding a white car seen near the home around the time of the killings.
The Moscow Police Department made the request on 7 December, and by the next day had to direct tips to a special FBI call centre because so many were coming in.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger has now been arrested in the state of Pennsylvania and will be extradited to Idaho. He is facing a first degree murder charge.
Does Idaho have the death penalty?
Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the state of Idaho. A prosecuter has to seek the death penalty and the sentence is decided by the jury.
It has to be a unanimous decision. In the case of a hung jury in the penalty phase of the trial, a life sentence is handed down instead.